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On The Price Chain: Electricity-part 1

On The Price Chain: Electricity-part 1


Nuclear power –“Kozloduy” NPP

Installed capacities and generation

“Kozloduy” NPP (Plant) is the only nuclear power plant in the country with installed capacity of 3760 MW, respectively since 2007 with installed capacity of 2000 MW, after decommissioning of 1, 2, 3 and 4 units. Shareholder of the 100% of the capital of the Plant is the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding.
481,8 TWh are generated in Kozloduy NPP since 1974. This represents the 15 – year electricity consumption in the country. The record year for generation is 2002 – then the Plant generated 20,2 TWh. The generation decreased by around 25% after closing units 1-4 of the plant although 45% of the installed capacity is decommissioned. This is a result of the increased utilization of disposable capacity –from approximately 70% until 2006 and to 90% after that, by which indicator for PWR nuclear reactors the units of NPP Kozloduy are over the average world levels.
About 1 TWh or 6.5% of the annual gross generated electricity is used for own needs by the Plant. The rest –net generated electricity power is allocated for sales.
Regulated incomes and prices

The larger part of the generated by the Plant electricity is designed for protected consumers – these are all households and SME. The quantities also and the prices of the electricity are defined annually by State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC). According to the last price decision of SEWRC (July 2010 – July 2011), 66% of the net generation of the Plant or 9,7 mln. MWh are allocated for the regulated market.
The regulatory method which the SEWRC applies on the Plant is “rate of return”. By this method the Commission approves necessary costs of the plant for annual period beginning from July 1st of the respective year. A defined weight average rate of return of the own and acquired capital (below 2%) is added to that costs. The sum of these two quantities defines the total value of the revenews of the Plant for annual period. The approved revenews by SEWRC for 2010 are at value of BGN 446 mln.
On the base of approved revenews and energy quantities for the regulated market SEWRC stipulates two-component price of the generated nuclear electricity, namely: component “price for energy” at value of 15,75 BGN/MWh and component “price for availability” at value of 28,06 BGN/MWh for 2010.
Component “Price for energy”

Through the component “price for energy” are covered the variable fuel costs and the contributions in “Decommissioning of nuclear facilities (DNF)” fund and “Radioactive waste (RAW)” fund.
The fuel costs are about 11 BGN/MWh or around 70% of the component “price for energy”.
Totally the two contributions for the funds are 76 mln. BGN/ annually or 5 BGN/MWh, respectively 1,4 BGN/MWh for the “RAW” fund and 3,6 BGN/MWh for the DNF fund (data source “Strategy for Managing the Spent Nuclear Fuel and Radioactive Waste until 2030”, approved by the Council of Ministers in January 2011). In comparison, the average calculations of the American operators of nuclear stations for storage of the spent fuel and for decommissioning are 2 US /MWh (3 BGN/MWh). In Sweden the expenses for spent nuclear fuel are 1,3 US/MWh, but the expenses for decommissioning are estimated as 10-15% of the expenses for building and their budget is accumulated through deductions of the price. In France these two types of expenses are calculated also as percentage of the expenses for building and vary between 10 and 15% of them. Accumulated funds up to now through the prices of electricity of a French Nuclear Operator have reached EUR 71 bln. The other approach is the British one  the expenses for decommissioning are calculated as absolute value of 1 bln. pounds for each reactor.
Key advantage of the nuclear energy is its low fuel costs in comparison with ones of coal and gas plants. Even then the costs for management of radioactive waste and decommissioning are added to the fuel costs, the total fuel costs for standard nuclear plant in OECD countries are about 1/3 from coal ones and between ¼ and 1/5 from combined gas plant costs.
Direct comparisons between Bulgarian and international experience cannot be made. One of the reasons is that national funds exist relatively for a short time – around 10 years, while deductions in the rest countries for these two directions are made at the very beginning of the exploitation of nuclear capacity.
Component “Price for availability”

Through the component “price for availability” are covered the rest expenses of the plant, the main ones are expenses for maintenance, repair, amortizations, salaries.
Two-component price corresponds with the different nature of the expenses of the nuclear plant – fixed ones, which are performed steadily, independently from the fact whether the plant operates or not, and the fuels ones, which are carried out only if the plant operates. It is important to make difference between operating nuclear power plant and new one which building is impending. The existing plants operate with significantly low expenses and actually are machines for making money. Their expenses – excluding Hydro Power Plants –are the lowest in the field which makes them extremely attractive for the suppliers of base electricity. According to the data for 2008, the generation expenses (without capital expenses) of 1 MWh nuclear energy in USA are 18,7 US/MWh. In comparison the regulated price of Kozloduy NPP for 2010 are 45,84 BGN/MWh.

If we look the dynamic of the stipulated prices by the SEWRC for nuclear electricity for the period 2002-2010 we will see that the energy price has fluctuated between 11-17 BGN/MWh without steady trends though the years. The price for availabity increase annually from 13,63 BGN/MWh in 2002 to 28,06 BGN/MWh in 2010, obviously – it doubles.
Sales on free market

Let us not forget the market segment where Kozloduy NPP sells about 40% of the generated net electricity. There is no official information about the prices, quantities and counterparties. According to information from the market participants, nowadays the nuclear energy is being traded at prices in the range of 60 and 70 BGN/MWh, which brings incomes to the Plant, equivalent with ones of the regulated market.


As a total, the generation price for nuclear energy from Kozloduy NPP is in the range of 55-60 BGN/MWh and the annual incomes which the plant receives from the regulated and free market are BGN 800-900 mln.

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